JUDE BELLINGHAM is targeting a perfect qualifying record as England close in on a place at next year’s European Championships in Germany.

Having made the perfect start to their Group C campaign as they beat Italy in Naples on Thursday evening, Gareth Southgate’s side made it two wins from two as they saw off Ukraine at Wembley.

First-half goals from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka enabled England to claim a comfortable 2-0 success, and with the top two finishers in the group guaranteed a place at Euro 2024, this week’s back-to-back victories have already gone a long way towards securing a spot in the finals.

This summer’s matches against Malta and North Macedonia should not pose too many problems, and while the autumn home game with Italy and away match with Ukraine could be more difficult, Bellingham wants to keep the 100 per cent record intact.

“We should be looking to win every game,” said the England midfielder. “You set yourself a standard and an expectation, and it’s important you match that. We have to carry that on for the rest of the qualification campaign.”

Bellingham’s emergence has been a real bright spot in the last 12 months, with the 19-year-old having impressed at last year’s World Cup finals after starring in the Bundesliga with his club side, Borussia Dortmund.

Southgate has played him in a more advanced attacking-midfield position in England’s last two games, and Bellingham admits he is trying to develop into a complete midfielder.

“There’s so much I’ve got to learn,” he said. “I want to win the game in two ends of the pitch. I’ve always wanted to be someone who can do a bit of everything.


“I have the best chances with the ones in that dressing room – every chance I get, I want to learn about the game.

“A lot of the time at Dortmund, I’m involved in the build-up more. I always feel I get a sense of where the ball lands, and I felt I could have done that better today. But it’s all experience, learning that. When I’m playing, I’m thinking about a million things and where I can be better.”

England were never seriously threatened today, with Ukraine failing to register a single meaningful effort on target.

Southgate’s players had to prove their mettle in the second half against Italy though, digging in to see the game out with ten men after Luke Shaw was sent off for two quick bookings.

Thursday’s victory was a landmark success, ending a wait of 62 years for an away win against Italy, but Bellingham admits it was essential it was followed up with another victory against a Ukraine side who made the qualifying play-offs for last year’s World Cup before falling at the final hurdle against Wales.

“It’s important we followed the good result in Italy with a win tonight,” he said. “It feels rewarding. It feels like we have a really good atmosphere in the changing room.

“We want to express ourselves, but there’s a side of us with a bit of nastiness. We need to cover all sides of the game, and I think we’re doing that really well at the moment.”

Report & ratings - Pages 46-47